Emerging church #3 – Is it God’s plan for missions?


In doing the research for Emerging church #2 – why is this happening now? I saw some stats here: Status of Global Mission, 2005 research from the Center for the Study of Global, which is a research center dedicated to measuring Christianity and world religions.

Those stats were not available when I wrote More stats on our progress!

Here are some of the stats that grab my attention.

Unevangelized % of world

AD 1900 – 54.3%
AD 1970 – 44.4%
AD 2000 – 28.3%
AD 2005 – 27.9%

I made a graph to visualize these stats

unevangelized.JPG

I then included their stats containing their predictions up to 2025

unevangelized_projected.JPG

The stats for unreached people’s in 2000-2005 are pretty much level. Almost flat-lining. Why?

The total number of Christians as % of the world

In 1900 – 35%
In 1970 – 33.4%
In mid-2000 – 33%
In mid-2005 – 33.1%
In 2025 – 33.1 (predicted)

The stats for the % of Christians in the world – hovering at 33% – it’s also flat. Why?

How can we have flat lines for both unreached people and for the number of believers? The number of bibles in the world went up by 20% in the last 5 years and there is a significant increase of money available to the church – but all of this is only maintaining the status quo. Why?

In my previous post (Emerging church #2 – why is this happening now?) I used those same research statistics to show that the fundamental shift that is occurring is primarily because of the change in literacy, urbanization and communications (telephone, internet, etc.) As the population in the mega-cities grow, no doubt the mega-churches will expand to accommodate those people.

The % should not drop from the growth in the population and the existing wineskin can take care of that… but what do we do to increase the growth? I’ve shown that growth is stalled and we have hit some kind of ceiling – what could that ceiling be? I’m about to suggest that we NEED to go through a Revolution like George Barna suggests. We NEED the emerging church to happen in order to grow a certain kind of Christian. New wine goes into a new wineskin.

There is a reason why our growth has stalled. It’s called: The 10/40 Window!

I’ve felt called to this area (in particular to help orphans) since I was 17. I can remember excitedly chattering away to my girlfriend of the time (Belinda) about the orphans and the orphanage software we could build to rehabilitate lives. I’ve always been a dreamer. I’ve always wanted to be used by God.

1040window_map.gif

More than 3.2 billion people live in the 10/40 area. (Source: Mission Frontier) 95% of the people living in the 10/40 Window are unevangelized.

That is the reason our growth has slowed and is flat lining. The full number of the gentiles is almost in and the non-10/40 world is close to saturation. To continue growing and to complete the job, we have to focus on the 10/40 area. The list of Christian missions has already begun to show the shift. At the time of writing this, the latest two entries are in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Here is a site which is dedicated to praying about the 10/40 window. If you’re into prayer, pray for the emerging church.
So how does the emerging church relate to the 10/40 window? The major characteristic of this revolution, the emerging church, is quite similar to what is happening in the underground Chinese church. People are reorganizing into small groups and that have leadership which seeks God intensely. These small groups operate in a highly relational way and are highly independent, while still pulling towards one goal.

The goal the Chinese underground church has is to send out 10 MILLION missionaries into the 10/40 window and to evangelize across the continent until they reach Jerusalem. (There are currently 429,000 missionaries in the world in 2002. 64,000 of those are from the USA.)

This 10/40 area can only be reached on a highly relational basis. The missionaries that go in there will need to work in a very personal way and be very good at working in small groups. It will be a decade (or three) before Baghdad has a mega church. This will need to be done in small groups… this is perfect for the kind of missionaries that the emerging church will generate and produce.

It’s really quite clever! Our God is a great big God. Be excited, be very excited. 😀

I’m very keen to hear your thoughts (positive or negative) and your dreams of being used by God (or not).

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